John Oliver explains how soccer is a religion and FIFA is evil

The World Cup kicks off on Thursday in Brazil, but all the talk is about the corrupt practices of the governing body for the sport of soccer (FIFA). What was already known was revealed to be true: FIFA officials were bribed in the process of Qatar making a winning bid to host the 2022 World Cup. The Middle Eastern country has also been beset by criticisms of human rights abuses towards the migrant workers building the stadiums.

In Brazil, police have been clearing out slums to prepare for this week’s event. Protests dogged the Confederations Cup tournament, a sort of World Cup warm up played the year prior, and there is good reason to believe protests will begin again with the major event. HBO comedian and television show host John Oliver summed up just how horrible FIFA has been while admitting that he is still excited about seeing the sport he loves.

“[Soccer is] an organized religion, and FIFA is its church. Just think about it,” says Oliver. “It’s leader is infallible. It compels South American countries to spend money they don’t have building opulent cathedrals. And it may ultimately be responsible for the deaths of shocking numbers people in the Middle East. But, for millions of people around the world like me, it is also the guardian of the only thing that gives their lives any meaning.”

If you need a catch up on all the terrible things that are associated with FIFA and the World Cup’s preparations in Brazil and Qatar, Oliver’s 13 minute description is a good start.

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Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.